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SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
September 12, 2021
Springwell Holy Communion

A MEDITATION

James, in his epistle, is on a rip and a tear in his message to us this morning. It is as if he’s collecting the wisdom from all our wise grandmothers as a force of power to be reckoned with. “So, the tongue is small, yet it boasts of great exploits.” The greatest ship is guided by a small rudder, the mighty horse is controlled with a bridle bit, and the giant forest is consumed by a tiny spark. And we all make mistakes. And don’t we ever.

You all have heard me often talk about the common, usually obvious truth to be found in scripture: what we call “horse sense.” Even if you have no particular spiritual yearning, the Bible is a great source of how-to information that serves all of us well in navigating what causes us hesitancy and trepidation in a perturbed world.

And that takes me forward to the story in the gospel. The broad strokes of the story are simple: Jesus asks his followers who people think he is and what they’re saying about him. Even bumbling Peter is able to say the obvious truth. Peter answered Jesus, “You are the Messiah.” Peter’s confessing that extraordinary reality seems to free Jesus from his own hesitancy so that as the gospel processes, Jesus is invigorated to preach and teach with new conviction. The gospel says that Jesus spoke “openly” to his disciples. No hesitancy with Jesus once his name “Messiah” was out in the open.

Jesus begins then to “confess” to his true identity and his mission. The word confess is fascinating. It usually means to confess a sin or transgression. But its more powerful usage is to tell a monumental truth, one that had been secret or unrevealed before the confession brought it into the open. Jesus confesses the fact of his purpose and mission, the most important message the world has ever heard.

Pastor Neil

OPENING ACCLAMATION

Celebrant and people We gather together as we live our lives, in the name of the ☩ Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Celebrant Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
People His mercy endures forever.
Celebrant Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

A READING FROM PROVERBS, AT THE 1ST CHAPTER

Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.

Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof;
therefore, they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
For waywardness kills the simple,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but those who listen to me will be secure
and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.

LET US READ FROM PSALM 19 RESPONSIVELY
The heavens declare the glory of God, *
and the firmament shows his handiwork.

One day tells its tale to another, *
and one night imparts knowledge to another.

Although they have no words or language, *
and their voices are not heard,

Their sound has gone out into all lands, *
and their message to the ends of the world.

In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun; *
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.

It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again; *
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect
and revives the soul; *
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent.

The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean
and endures forever; *
the judgments of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.

By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can tell how often he offends? *
cleanse me from my secret faults.

Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, *
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

THE EPISTLE

A reading from the Epistle of James at the 3rd chapter

James 3:1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So, also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue– a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
Reader: The Epistle of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

A READING FROM THE GOSPEL OF MARK, AT THE 8TH CHAPTER

Mark 8:27-38

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Celebrant The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon Pastor Neil

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Reader In peace, we pray to you, Lord God—
Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Guide the people of this land, and of all nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good. Heal the rifts that bind, vex, and scare us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory. Heal the wounds of those who have been victimized by climate change and destruction. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give us purpose and hope in troubles; and bring us the joy of your salvation. Bestow courage upon those who look at the world, and who wonder if there is a safe and gracious place for them. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We commend to your mercy all who have died, that your will for them may be fulfilled; and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Silence to lift up our own prayers to God

Celebrant Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage, we may always be supported by this community of fellowship of love and prayer. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

A CONFESSION OF OUR SINS TO GOD
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Silence may be kept

Minister and People
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
The Peace
Celebrant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is a right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. For you are the source of light and life, you made us in your image, and called us to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:
Celebrant and People Holy, Holy, Holy Lord—God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Celebrant We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.
On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Therefore, according to his command, O Father, we say together:
Celebrant and People
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Celebrant And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this bread and this wine.
We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in
this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death,
resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be ☩ for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

Celebrant and People By Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:

THE LORD’S PRAYER

People Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

A CALL TO COMMUNION

Celebrant The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

Celebrant will distribute communion to people in their chairs.

THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING
Celebrant and People
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE BLESSING

Celebrant Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, do justice, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, ☩ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.

 

More about the artwork on this bulletin

The subject, the Triumph of Wisdom is an ancient depiction in art. It hearkens back to the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena, and the Roman equivalent Minerva. Its Hebrew equivalent is the feminine Sophia. Wisdom was often shown as a warrior figure, with shield and spear. Wisdom confers power, but needs to defend itself against mistruth and mistrust, and be constantly vigilant lest wisdom be defiled and degraded.

This painting is ceiling art from San Giorgio Maggiore (San Zorzi Mazor in Venetian), in a 16th-century Benedictine church on an island across from Venice. The basilica was designed by Andrea Palladio. The basilica complex was built between 1566 and 1610. The church’s brilliant white marble façade gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Plaza of San Marco, and forms the focal point of the view from every part of Venice’s waterfront. It is stunningly beautiful both in its exterior and soaring interior, including an alluring dome bathing the church space in light.

The painting is a swirl of figures. Wisdom is clothed in blue, seated at the left, attired for battle. The painting is best seen in terms of allusions to the metaphors used to depict wisdom over long ages, including an angelic trumpet cry of victory. It is always clear, to be sure, that wisdom triumphs against darkness, perversity, and villainy.